Daryl McMahon is looking forward to tomorrow’s big Kent derby at the Gallagher Stadium and insists he has no issues with a surface that has drawn some critics among managers, players and fans in the past.
With Maidstone and Sutton both playing on 3G surfaces this season, the Fleet manager thinks they’re here to stay and believes people should move on and concentrate on the mouth-watering football at hand.
“We don’t train on 3G,” McMahon told FleetOnline. “But we will be doing so on Monday morning before the game just for a little practice before we go down there on Tuesday.
“I really don’t see the type of pitch making a big difference to be honest. We all grew up as kids playing on all sorts of pitches and I think people get a bit too precious when they’re playing on that surface sometimes. It’s just a pitch, it’s 11 v 11, there’s going to be a big crowd there for a Kent derby. It’s a fantastic game to play in regardless of what the pitch is. Whether it’s 3G, Wembley or a mudbath, it doesn’t matter. We’ve been looking forward to it and it’s a big game to be involved in so the players should be up for it.”
As a player, McMahon experienced three Kent derbies against Dover in 2013/14 as well as two against Dartford in the same season but this is new territory for him and for many Fleet fans, with the last Maidstone-Fleet league game as far back as April 1982.
He comes up against his colleague from last season’s Fleet Academy side, with our former youth assistant manager Steve Watt likely to captain the Stones from midfield. And the connections don’t end there, with Stones boss Jay Saunders a very familiar face from his two spells with the Fleet in the Nineties and then from 2004–06 in the Conference. Maidstone defender Jamie Coyle also began his career at the Fleet, breaking into the first team during our Conference season of 2002/03.